Over the last spring season in late March up till the end of April, hotel prices in Whistler can drop quite significantly and more so due to the dismal snow fall this year. Thus I reserved a few stays in Whistler to pick up skiing (prior to that I enjoy snowboarding). Whistler Blackcomb has a last-minute hotel deals whereby it does not show the hotel names when booking but it does leave hints through the location, sizes and amenities in the room. Thus for the first night, I stayed at the Crystal Lodge which has a central and prominent location in the village itself. I paid a rate of C$129++ (~$105) for the one night.
Finding the hotel coming from the village is easy enough but for those driving, the entrance is at the back with a driveway shared with other shops and hotels. There are some parking at the back so guests could certainly drop off their luggage. Parking in the hotel is an additional charge but I parked at the free lots after unloading my luggage since I am travelling alone and did not want to spend on expensive hotel parking in Whistler.
The hotel has a spacious and warm lobby with a predominantly bright wood decor. There is a small lounge area beside the check-in counter and as I arrived early, I was told my room was not ready yet. There was some paperwork in this traditional hotel check-in process and I was able to head to ski before returning later in the afternoon to collect my room key. What I noticed was the front desk agent were more or less temporary workers that did not seem to be very adept at their job. I guess this can happen to most ski resorts during the lull season, though in the peak winter season, it can mean a long wait for guests checking in.
Room No: 310 Category: Traditional King Room
There was no upgrade whatsoever even though the hotel seems quiet and does not seem to be operating at full capacity. The layout of the hotel is long and narrow with the best rooms situated over the end nearer to the gondolas and above the lululemon store. I was assigned a room on the 3rd floor and I have to say it was a bit disappointing when I saw the size of the room.
Inside it was just a standard hotel room but much smaller. There is a bathroom with a bathtub/shower combination, and an old looking vanity counter. Bathroom amenities were an interesting Paya-brand that was supposed to have a Papaya scent. It reminded me of a dishwashing liquid though especially the colour of the amenities.
Inside the bedroom, there was a king sized bed and a TV cabinet. There is also a small round table with 2 chairs by the window. What I did not like about the whole room was the lack of any work desk as the round table is occupied by the minibar snacks and it is also in a cramped area that would negate the space when filled with luggage.
Another point of discomfort is the small windows that overlook the village. This makes the whole room appear smaller and darker when it is already quite small.
Opening the window for the mountain air would also make it slightly noisy due to the crowds in the village directly below. Considering the ‘party’ nature of the crowds in Whistler, it can create disturbance for a good night’s sleep for guests. There is some partial view of the mountains from this room if you’re willing to crane your neck out a bit!
While the hotel room was lacking in substance, the facilities does provide some relief. There is an outdoor pool and hot tub which is accessible from a floor below the lobby. Both the pool and hot tub are relatively empty when I used it around 6pm in the afternoon, and it is probably because the entrance to the pool and hot tub was beside The Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant which can make it awkward for guests in robes walking past diners waiting for a seat.
Besides the Old Spaghetti Factory, the hotel also houses the Crystal Lounge which serves pub fare and the Wildwood formal dining restaurant. Being right in the middle of the village has its perks since it is convenient to get food and for shopping but it can get crowded and lacks privacy in accessing the pool and hot tub. There is also a small ski storage in the same floor below the main lobby for guests. This is expected since the rooms are too small for all the ski gears.
Crystal Lodge does market itself as being ‘At the centre of it all’ and I do not disagree with that moniker. However, the hotel is a bit old, rooms are a bit small and it just feels that it needs some work done to improve it. For the same or lower price, there are better options elsewhere in Whistler village a few steps away. I would not suggest this hotel for couples or skiers wishing for more space in their room during an extended ski vacation.